The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) recently completed a midterm evaluation for the Honduras Food For Education Project.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), along with the Social Ministry of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán (CARITAS) and the Central Committee for Water Development in Intibucá (COCEPRADII), are implementing the project "Food for Education" in the Intibucá department of Honduras. Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the project seeks to improve the level of literacy in school-aged children in Intibucá’s 17 municipalities over a period of 3 years, from 2013 to 2015.
Common obstacles to improving literacy are low student enrollment in schools, high absences of students who are enrolled, a lack of supplies and materials, and a lack of understanding among parents of the importance of formal education.
The Honduras Food for Education project provides school meals for students, more advanced training for teachers and school administrators, more adequate classroom supplies, and campaigns on the value of education. In total, the project includes 53,863 children and 2,000 teachers throughout the 17 municipalities of Intibucá.
To measure the program’s progress in reaching its goals, NDIGD used both qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct a midterm evaluation , which is compared to the baseline evaluation that was completed before the program began. As part of the evaluation, an Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) was also conducted, testing students’ abilities in second, third and fourth grade.
NDIGD’s findings demonstrate an improvement in most indicators. Most notably, an increase was observed in reading comprehension, particularly among the youngest participants in the program, and findings also show an increase in student attendance. The study also showed that the radio campaigns to increase parents’ awareness on the value of education are not sufficient for changing parental attitudes towards education, compelling the implementing organizations to rethink their strategy.
NDIGD Monitoring and Evaluation Director, Juan Carlos Guzman, worked closely with CRS on the midterm evaluation for the project. “Monitoring and evaluation, particularly at the midterm level, provides feedback to the implementing agency to help them recognize which activities are working and which activities need modification or restructuring. The midterm evaluation conducted for the Honduras Food for Education Project allows CRS to measure the impact that the program is having on student literacy thanks to all of the project interventions.”
The Honduras Food for Education Project will continue throughout 2015. A final assessment will be taken later in the year to provide end line data, providing a comprehensive look at the impact of this program.